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Oshima's Outlaw Sixties

 

Pleasures of the Flesh (1965)      Violence at Noon (1966)


Sing a Song of Sex (1967)       Japanese Summer: Double Suicide (1967)


Three Resurrected Drunkards (1968)

 

Often called the Godard of the East, Japanese director Nagisa Oshima was one of the most provocative film artists of the twentieth century, and his works challenged and shocked the cinematic world for decades. Following his rise to prominence at Shochiku, Oshima struck out to form his own production company, Sozo-sha, in the early sixties. That move ushered in the prolific period of his career that gave birth to the five films collected here. Unsurprisingly, this studio renegade was fascinated by stories of outsiders—serial killers, rabid hedonists, and stowaway misfits are just some of the social castoffs you’ll meet in these audacious, cerebral entries in the New Wave surge that made Japan a hub of truly daredevil moviemaking.

Titles (NOTE: 2 titles for 'Violence at Noon')

 


 

Pleasures of the Flesh
Nagisa Oshima, 1965
A corrupt businessman blackmails the lovelorn reprobate Atsushi into watching over his suitcase full of embezzled cash while he serves a jail sentence. Rather than wait for the man to retrieve his money, however, Atsushi decides to spend it all in one libidinous rush.


Violence at Noon
Nagisa Oshima, 1966
Containing more than two thousand cuts and a wealth of inventive widescreen compositions, this coolly fragmented character study is a mesmerizing investigation of criminality and social decay.


Sing a Song of Sex
Nagisa Oshima, 1967
Four sexually hungry high school students prepare for their university entrance exams in Oshima’s hypnotic, free-form depiction of generational political apathy, featuring stunning color cinematography.


Japanese Summer: Double Suicide
Nagisa Oshima, 1967
A sex-obsessed young woman, a suicidal man she meets on the street, a gun-crazy wannabe gangster—these are just three of the irrational, oddball anarchists trapped in an underground hideaway in Oshima’s devilish, absurdist film.


Three Resurrected Drunkards
Nagisa Oshima, 1968
A trio of bumbling young men frolic at the beach. While they swim, their clothes are stolen and replaced with new outfits. Donning these, they are mistaken for undocumented Koreans and end up on the run from comically outraged authorities.

Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1965 - 1968

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Eclipse 21: Oshima's Outlaw Sixties from the Criterion Collection (5-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

 

 

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC
Time: Respectively - 1:31:15, 1:39:24, 1:43:40, 1:30:51 and 1:20:06
Bitrate:  Pleasures of the Flesh (1965)
 
Bitrate: Violence at Noon (1966)
 
Bitrate: Sing a Song of Sex (1967)
 
Bitrate: Japanese Summer: Double Suicide (1967)
 
Bitrate: Three Resurrected Drunkards (1968)
Audio Japanese (original mono)
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eclipse / Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 2.35:1

Edition Details:

  •  one page (for each film) of liner notes in the transparent case


DVD Release Date:
May 18th, 2010
5 Slim Transparent Keep Cases inside a Slipcase cardboard box
Chapters:
12, 15, 13, 15, 12

 

Comments:

NOTE: The 5 main features of this boxset are housed in individual slim transparent keep cases (see image above and below) they are not sold separately, by Criterion, at this time. These particular NTSC editions can only be obtained in Criterion's Eclipse Series 21 package at present although their are other PAL editions (ex. Pleasure of the Flesh came out by Yume Picture in the UK, Happinet Pictures and a French edition elsewhere. Somewhere out there is a 19-disc boxset of the director's films by an Asian DVD distributor but I have no knowledge of the quality) available for some of these Oshima films.

Four of the five DVDs are dual-layered with only Three Resurrected Drunkards being single-layered. All are progressive and anamorphically enhanced in their original 2.35 aspect ratios.

The sound is original Japanese mono but dialogue is clear and quite audible - I noted a couple of instances of minor hiss, but overall it is supporting the films well. There are optional English subtitles (font samples below).

Bitrates are reasonably strong ranging from from 6.55 MPS (Three Resurrected Drunkards) to 7.94 MPS (Sing a Song of Sex).

Aside from one page liner notes for each film (visible on the inner case sleeve through the transparent case cover) there are no supplements.

On the image - I think Three Resurrected Drunkards and the two black and white films (Violence at Noon + Japanese Summer: Double Suicide) look the best. Contrast and detail are quite impressive for SD-DVD on these three transfers. Pleasures of the Flesh has strong colors but can tend to look quite thick at times. Actually this is not uncommon for many Japanese films of the period. I recall Home Vision DVD appearing this way. Sing a Song of Sex might be a notch behind occasionally looking hazy. Overall with Criterion at the DVD production - they are all very watchable with noise and flickering contrast very minimal. These films are approaching their 50th birthdays in the next few years and considering this - they look reasonably strong. I doubt any of the alternative releases will be at this level - if we have the opportunity to compare - we will.

Eclipse are continuing with their mission statement: "...a selection of lost, forgotten, or overshadowed classics in simple, affordable editions. Each series is a brief cinematheque retrospective for the adventurous home viewer." In this case - absolutely spot on.

I was very impressed with the package as a whole. More than once Nikkatsu Noir came to mind as I went through the set. I just LOVED these films although the artistic 'swing' can be considered quite strident for some individuals. They are all at once cool, bold and filled with inventive camera angles and telling close-ups - it's just marvelous. They seemed to get more 'arty' as they move forward through the 60's. I really enjoyed Pleasures of the Flesh with Three Resurrected Drunkards being the least 'accessible' for those with more mainstream expectations - it is actually kind of a hoot to be honest. Japanese Summer: Double Suicide might be considered the best film of the collection - although they all have merit. I wouldn't say these are shocking films but lean to that side more than most Japanese films of the same period. Actually, I'll take that back in that Sing a Song of Sex does have some shocking 'indifference' at it's core. Oshima has an errant style that gets more readily visible by it's diversity in each of his films that you see (Night and Fog in Japan, Empire of Passion, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and In the Realm of the Senses). It's kind of a shame that there isn't some discussion in the form of extras or commentaries for this package - as the films themselves seem to encourage more questions than answers. These are a little pricier than the majority of Eclipse releases in excess of $12/film but I strongly suggest they are worth every penny to serious fans of Japanese or Arthouse cinema. This is really quite a special collection.     

Gary W. Tooze



DVD Menus



 

Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Pleasures of the Flesh (1965) aka 'Etsuraku'

 

Directed by Nagisa ‘shima

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Violence at Noon (1966) aka 'Hakuchu no torima'

 

Directed by Nagisa ‘shima

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Sing a Song of Sex (1967) aka 'Nihon shunka-kŰ'

 

Directed by Nagisa ‘shima

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Japanese Summer: Double Suicide (1967) aka 'Muri shinju: Nihon no natsu'

 

Directed by Nagisa ‘shima

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Three Resurrected Drunkards (1968) aka 'Kaette kita yopparai'

 

Directed by Nagisa ‘shima
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

 

Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

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